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‘Free Guy’ Review—A Gleeful Experience

No spoilers!

By Jonathan SimPublished 3 years ago 3 min read
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In a world of completely average summer blockbusters, one movie dares to be better than them all, and that movie is not The Boss Baby: Family Business.

Shawn Levy directs Free Guy, a science fiction action comedy starring Ryan Reynolds as Guy, a non-player character (NPC) working as a bank teller in a video game called Free City. He soon becomes self-aware and decides to become the hero, teaming up with Molotov Girl (Jodie Comer) to save the game.

The summer of 2021 has not given us much to love in the world of movies. Lately, nearly every movie I’ve reviewed has gotten either a 7/10 (Vivo, Jungle Cruise, Gunpowder Milkshake) or a poor 4/10 (Snake Eyes, The Last Mercenary, Jolt). It’s been a summer of movies that are either bad or merely okay.

But I’m happy to say this movie is the biggest surprise of the summer. At the time of writing this review, I have not yet seen The Suicide Squad, so as of now, this is my favorite film of the summer. I’m done halfheartedly recommending movies; I wholeheartedly recommend you watch this film.

I love every genre of film. Action, horror, romance, animation—if it’s a movie, I’ll find something to respect about it. But more than anything, I like to be entertained. Hell, my other two favorite films of the year are The Mitchells vs. The Machines and In the Heights, two films gift-wrapped for entertainment.

And that’s what Free Guy is. This movie begins with incredible video game action with a surprise cameo appearance (which this movie has a few of). From there, the film introduces our main character, Guy, while also establishing the world outside of the video game, and none of it is boring for a second.

Levy’s filmography has been a mixed bag in the past, directing some bad movies and a few good ones. After a seven-year hiatus from directing, he is dipping his toe back in the action-comedy genre, and like with Date Night, this movie has exceptional action and comedy.

With a stand-out production design, every action setpiece is quite wonderful to behold. They’re thrilling, stylish, and visually dazzling. Without a doubt, the film is cleaner than Reynold’s bloody, R-rated work on Deadpool, but the PG-13 rating works for the film’s lighthearted subject matter.

The movie also delivers on the laughs it promises. It has genuinely hysterical moments with Reynolds bringing his usual charisma to the table. Taika Waititi kills it as Antwon, an over-the-top baddie who chews up the scenery with his larger-than-life presence. It’s a hilarious film with wonderful pop culture references.

The biggest issue the film has is the fact that it will inevitably draw comparisons to other movies. Nearly every critic is gonna describe this film as “The Truman Show meets Ready Player One,” and if not those films, then they’ll compare it to The LEGO Movie, Wreck-It Ralph, and Stranger than Fiction.

And there are definitely similarities to all of those films, but this movie has a personality of its own. The film features outstanding chemistry between Reynolds and Comer, and unlike many films of late, the movie delivers on the promise of the premise, executing its ideas in wonderful ways.

If you want a fun, fresh movie that’s not worried about setting up fifteen sequels and spin-offs, this is that movie. It’s an absolute blast of humor and action, and it’s a feel-good adventure that creates something fascinating and beautiful.

Free Guy is a gleeful experience with action, romance, laughs, and a consistently furious Taika Waititi. This is what movies are made for.

Grade: ★★★★✬ [9/10, A-]

Jonathan’s Tips: Drop what you’re doing and watch this movie when it comes out. Make plans. If you have a crush on someone, watch this with them. It’s so good.

Free Guy opens in U.S. theaters August 13, 2021.

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About the Creator

Jonathan Sim

Film critic. Lover of Pixar, Harry Potter, Star Wars, Marvel, DC, Back to the Future, and Lord of the Rings.

For business inquiries: [email protected]

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